Our Planet Is Not Ours To Destroy

We Are All in This Together on a Fragile Planet with No Escape Hatch

We human beings like to think of planet Earth as somehow belonging to us, simply because we were born here. However, if we take a step back, we realize Earth has existed for billions of years before us and will exist for billions of years after we are gone. We are but temporary guests and tenants on this planet, which we share for a short time with the countless other species with which we have co-evolved.

As Tenants, We Have Moral Obligations to Care for Our “Landlord’s” Home

Just as a tenant has certain moral and ethical obligations to take reasonable care of a rented house or flat, out of respect for the landlord, humans have significant moral duties as tenants and stewards of planet Earth. These duties stem not from legal ownership, but from ethical obligations to preserve the rights and welfare of others, both human and non-human. We must care for Earth out of respect for all of our planetary housemates, as well as future generations, who also deserve a liveable planet.

Our Actions Determine if Our Tenancy Will Continue

A tenant’s right to continue living in a rental unit is contingent on proper care and conduct. If we rubbish the place or make it unliveable for others, we jeopardize our tenancy. The same applies to humanity on Earth. If we pollute the environment, deplete resources, destabilize the climate, and drive other species to extinction, we undermine the sustainability of our planetary home and threaten Earth’s ability to support our existence. As tenants, we must treat Earth with the utmost care and respect. Our tenancy—and very survival—depends on it.

If Earth Evicts Us, There Are No Other Planets to Move To

Unlike an evicted tenant who can just move into another flat, if we render Earth uninhabitable there is nowhere else for human civilization to go. While possible future colonization of Mars and other celestial bodies is sometimes cited, they do not offer realistic or sustainable solutions as alternatives for a viable biosphere that sustains diverse terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. For all intents and purposes, Earth is humanity’s one and only possible home. Failing as tenants here means the ending of our tenancy and likely the demise of our species.

We Must Transition from Owners to Humble and Appreciative Tenants

The first step is shifting away from the paradigms and behaviours that emerge from the arrogant and incorrect belief that we own Earth and can do what we want with it without consequence. Instead, we must adopt the humble perspective of short-term planetary tenants, appreciating what a unique privilege it is to reside on such a singularly stunning, diverse, life-sustaining world. Such deep appreciation for our planetary home cultivates strong motivations for environmental responsibility.

We Are All in This Together on a Fragile Planet with No Escape Hatch

Earth does not belong to us as human beings. Nor does it solely belong to any other single species. This wondrous, beautiful planet we inhabit is our shared home, to be cared for dutifully and maintained diligently by us temporary tenants for as long as we dwell here. We must maintain peaceful cooperation and environmental harmony to sustain Earth’s habitability, biodiversity and ecological balance for the benefit of all organisms and species. We must move beyond self-interest to global interest and progress. Our tenancy and our legacy depend completely on how well we care for the planet during our short stay here. Earth is all we have.


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